US: Cemex has agreed to pay a US$1m fine and to install controls to decrease its emissions of nitrogen oxide (NOx) at its Lyons cement plant in Colorado to resolve alleged violations of the Clean Air Act (CAA). The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had accused Cemex of illegally modifying its Lyons plant in a way that increased the amount of NOx the facility released.
"Today's settlement will reduce harmful emissions of nitrogen oxides, which can have serious impacts on respiratory health for communities along Colorado's Front Range," said Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Enforcement and Compliance Assurance. She added that this could improve visibility at the nearby Rocky Mountain National Park.
The US Department of Justice, on behalf of the EPA, filed a complaint against Cemex alleging that between 1997 and 2000 the company unlawfully made modifications at its Lyons plant that resulted in significant net increases of NOx and particulate matter (PM) emissions. The complaint further alleges that these increased emissions violated the CAA's Prevention of Significant Deterioration and Non-Attainment New Source Review requirements, which state that companies must obtain the necessary permits prior to making modifications at a facility and install and operate required pollution control equipment if modifications will result in increases of certain pollutants.
As part of the settlement, Cemex will install 'Selective Non-Catalytic Reduction' (SNCR) technology at its Lyons facility, which is an advanced pollution control technology designed to reduce NOx emissions. This will reduce its NOx emissions by approximately 870 to 1200t/yr. The initial capital cost for installing SNCR technology is approximately US$600,000 and the cost of injecting ammonia into the stack emissions stream, a necessary part of the process, is anticipated to be about US$1.5m/yr.